PBL (girls), Danville (boys) search for basketball coaches
PAXTON — Citing family reasons, Travis Duley resigned Tuesday as Paxton-Buckley-Loda varsity girls' basketball coach after six years at the helm.
"The main reason was the desire to spend more time at home. Due to my own personal situation, over the past 13 years (of coaching), it gave me the opportunity to work with other people's kids ... I'd like the opportunity to spend some more time at home, spend some time with my own kid," said Duley, who has a 13-month-old son.
Duley coached at PBL for the past 10 seasons, the first as a volunteer assistant and the next three as an assistant before his time as head coach. In six years under Duley's direction, PBL was 101-68 with three regional title-game appearances.
"It's bittersweet for us and him. He's had a successful tenure here. He averaged (almost) 17 wins a season in his tenure and been part of the program for a long time. With that said, we understand people have to do what they have to do," PBL Principal Trent Eshleman said.
Duley submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday, then told the girls in his program of his decision later that night at a team meeting. He told the them he still loved the game and coaching them but didn't feel it was right to ask for 100 percent from them if he couldn't reciprocate the same effort as coach.
Duley and the players were emotional, and he said telling them was one of the harder things he's had to do.
"This program has been a part of my life for 10 years, so there's definitely going to be something missing next year," Duley said. "But it's for the positive, I think. There are a lot of girls now who are a little emotional about it because we have a bond and a trust because we've worked together.
"It's been an honor coaching them, just to get to know these girls and their families."
Duley has his master's degree in administration and is interested in pursuing that route in education someday if the right opportunity presents itself. But for now, he will remain on staff at the high school as a business teacher.
"My plan is to be right here, but I'd like to do some other things also," Duley said. "My desires professionally might take me to another school. I don't know that, I hope not, but it could happen. But even if that happens, I still live in this community and plan on living in this community. Whether they see me at school as a teacher or see me in the community, we're going to see each other ... I'm still going to give them a kick if they're not doing something the right way. I'm not going away. I'm just taking a step back."
PBL will look to fill his position in time for a vote at the April 18 board meeting so the program will be ready for summer basketball without a hitch, Eshleman said.
The school already has several internal candidates who have expressed interest, Eshleman said, and the protocol is typically to give such people an interview. However, there are several teaching openings throughout the district that need to be filled that could produce candidates as well.
"We'll leave all the doors open and try to get the best candidate," Eshleman said.
As of Wednesday, assistant coaches Lynn Rubarts and Ray VanAntwerp remained with the program, Eshleman said, though he didn't immediately know what their aspirations were moving forward in regards to the open position.
Danville coach resigns. Gary Tidwell, who has spent 13 years with the Danville High School boys' basketball program, resigned this week after six years as the head coach. His final team had a 9-19 record. In his career, the Vikings were 73-91. The next coach will start with a group of returnees that included 11 underclassmen who received varsity minutes as well as others from a 14-4 junior varsity season.
Tidwell, a Prairie Central graduate, plans to remain on staff as a teacher at Danville.
Fred Kroner contributed to this report.